Here is the Chairman’s Annual Report for the year 1/7/2020 to 30/6/2021:

The last year has been difficult for all charities because of the Covid-19 pandemic. The TCHLOF committee did not meet live but digitally by Zoom. TCHLOF members who normally volunteer at the hospital had to stop their work. Fund raising money for Tonbridge Cottage Hospital and the surrounding community was near impossible despite it being one of the main aims of the League of Friends. However, the TCH Cottage Club, which is managed by Jill Goldsworthy, which provides a monthly prize of £100 and donates its profits to the LOF, was able to function. Fortunately, the LOF has large reserves from two major legacies in recent years. Three individuals elected to donate money to the LOF. Ann McFerran gave a donation of £1000 to pay for the TCH employee of the month scheme. She had been an in-patient in the past in the stroke rehabilitation unit at TCH. Likewise, Laura de Bono, who had been an in-patient in the stroke rehabilitation unit, set up a Just Giving crowdfunding site for raising money for the TCHLOF.  Alice Hohler donated £100 to the site which was matched by £100 from the Mercers’ Livery Company.  Laura has written a booklet called Losing My Mind, Insider Knowledge to Understanding Dementia which she is selling to raise funds for TCHLOF.  Daphne Males is looking after the gift boxes in some of the shops.

The League of Friends provides funds for the hospital and for the local community. This last year we agreed funding for the conversion of the Day Room on Goldsmid Ward to a dementia friendly vintage 1950’s Tea Room. Agreement was given for new blinds in the hospital.  3 RITA tablets were purchased but were soon stolen even though kept locked up. The LOF was refunded the money of purchase and re-purchased 2 more. (RITA stands for Reminiscence Interactive Therapy which is a digital therapy system.) Many small items were funded to help the in- patients including a portable CD player for dementia patients. A dish-washer was purchased for the staff and funding provided to store mattresses in the building behind the hospital. Work was proceeding on a dementia friendly sensory walk in Tonbridge Racecourse Sportsground which the TCHLOF has contributed funds to. We will start to re-provide the flowers for the hospital once the Tea Room opens in September. The TVs often break down and the LOF spends monies using Airwaves to repair them. The LOF is investigating the causes for the breakdowns. 

We are grateful for Chris Parker for keeping our website up to date. We have changed our web-master to John Watson who is going to update the website and make it more user friendly and reliable.  Thanks are due to Jill Goldsworthy for managing the Cottage Club. Margaret Bull has kindly been taking the Minutes though this needs to be remedied by the appointment of a new Secretary. David Wells was co-opted onto the TCHLOF Committee and Andrea McDonnell and Greer Stolton expressed a desire to be co-opted. It is hoped the 3 individuals will be elected to the LOF Committee at the AGM for financial year 2020-2021.

There has been little change in the hospital. During parts of the covid-19 pandemic, there were no post- operative rehabilitation of patients who have fractured a hip.  The Matron is Caroline Essenhigh, who works part-time and is helped by other senior staff. Courtney Hancock Peach, the part-time Administrator for TCH, went on maternity leave and was replaced by Wendy Renshaw. 

The hospital was affected less by Covid-19. The major flood on Goldsmid Ward on 19.5.2020 meant that the whole hospital was closed for extensive repairs. The hospital was back to normal by early October. 

In early May 2020 Adam Wickings as a Director of West Kent Integrated Care Partnership of Kent and Medway Clinical Commissioning Group, in early May 2020, asked NHS Property Services to renew the TCH lease. The lease expired after 85 years on 27th September 2020. It was renewed sometime in early 2021 at an unknown yearly cost. In future the lease will be for 10-year intervals due to a new accounting standard FRS 16. The cost of the new lease was considerably higher than Kent Community Health Foundation Trust (KCHFT) had expected. With the change of lease, the estate and lease of TCH is now going to be managed by KCHFT rather than NHS Property Services. Adam Wickings has been replaced by Mark Atkinson.

While the review of Community Hospitals was due to start in spring 2018, it is not expected to report till spring next year and the LOF is not expected to be involved till after then by Kent and Medway CCG. There has been no further information about local care hubs. It was intimated by the NHS that the review of community hospitals and local care hubs would be completed before the lease needed renewing but this did not happen probably as West Kent CCG ceased to exist in April 2020 and the covid-19 pandemic. 

I have decided to extend my time as Chairman as we have a potential 3 new members of the LOF and it would be fairer on them for me to resign a few meetings after the 2020-2021 AGM. Therefore, I will probably stop being Chairman at the AGM for the financial year 2021-2022. I became Chairmen in 2010. I am prepared to continue on the Committee for a year after that. 

Dr David Goodridge, Chairman of the League of Friends of Tonbridge Cottage Hospital.